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For every Holdem lover, Billabong will seem like a downright weird game. Since it is a mix between stud and community card poker (I heard it likened to Manila) no wonder every community card fan will find it awkward at first sight. At a second glance though Billabong is, simply put, a very interesting cardgame.

Well here's how it goes: every player is dealt two holecards and a third card face up. The person to be in posession of the highest face-up card will start the game (that is, the first betting round). Two community cards are dealt next up, and the second betting round commences. This is where the twilight zone begins for Holdem players, and this is where the Stud elements come into play. The second betting round is begun by the player who's exposed cards (his own face up card plus the two community ones) form the strongest poker hand to-be. Thus, one important feature (the influence of position on play) common to Holdem games, is thrown straight out the window.

The third community card is dealt and the third betting round is, once again, started by the player with the best 4 card poker hand (three community cards plus his own face card). The whole sequence is repeated once again, and as such, the last (4th) betting round is started by the player who has the strongest complete poker hand formed with the four community cards and his/her own facecard.

The last betting round is followed by the showdown, where players can make their five-card hands with any combination of their two holecards and the face card they have, and the four community cards from the board.

Using at least one of the two holecards makes a lot of sense though, since these are just about the only hidden element in the game.

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